Safari Park Half Marathon Recap

[My sister and I (I'm on the left) after completing our first half marathon, the Safari Park Half Marathon. We finished!!!]

Yesterday, I ran my first half marathon with my sister at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I have been training for the past few months, and I was nervous because I've encountered some obstacles (a hurt knee, breathing problems, chafing, oh my!) during my runs. My biggest fear was training and then not finishing (there is a 3 hour time limit.) I'm happy to report that I not only finished, but also had a lot of fun during the process. I was smiling most of the time from all of the entertainment along the course (music, animals, rousing supporters,) and watching the other runners' excitement.

The race started early at 6:30 AM, so we were out the door by 5:00 AM and arrived a full hour early at the start line at the North County Mall. It was FREEZING, the porta potty line was ridiculously long, and I was rethinking purchasing this cumbersome iPhone clip-on case I bought the day before. It sure was annoying my hip bone, but later in the race I hardly noticed it anymore because my other body parts probably hurt more at that point, ha!

This is what it looked like next to our pace group, all the way back at 11 minutes:

Above is a timing chip. I didn't know this until the half marathon, but our time is recorded via this little chip. As an added bonus, it's super cute and a nice keepsake. I was checking mine out right before the start buzzer. 

When we first started running, we were shoulder-to-shoulder and I saw the sea of people moving forward. I started running with my sister, and then got lost in my headphones and gained more momentum after mile 1. I think that I went the fastest from miles 1 to 6, and didn't even stop for water or powerade. There was a baby cow at one hydration station that people were petting, and I really wanted to stop and pet her too, but all I could think was "nooo, 2:30 pace! 2:30 pace!" Me passing up saying "hi" and petting a baby animal takes extreme circumstances, like finishing at my goal time. When I took this photo, I was feeling pretty good:

But when I reached mile 6, there was the. scariest. hill. ever. 

[Photo from half marathon runner Lucy Bender]

Really steep. Sand. Dirt. I had to walk. It was nothing I had tried to run before, and unfortunately after this hill I lost momentum. But I kept going! And going! And going! 

Eventually I got into the park, and got excited when I was nearing the end and saw this sign. 

[Photo by Georgeanne Irvine, San Diego Zoo staff]

I finished 2 minutes after my goal time of 2:30. Good enough for me! And now I have this shiny medal and wonderful memories of our first half marathon. 

 [Basking in our victory after the race] 

I can't wait until next year. We're already planning our costumes. 

Next up, I've signed up for the Color Run. I'm officially hooked. :)


Alycia said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! That is so awesome- and such a great run to take part in :o)

And such an inspiration. I am doing a 5k in 2 weeks and I am extremely nervous. But I am hoping all goes well and to eventually do a half next year.

Looks like you had an amazing time!! Congrats again :o)

ruthy ann said...

wahooooooo! great accomplishment!! congrats!

miss.t said...

Great job, Mo!!! So happy for you! This race looked like a lot of fun! I'll be training for my second half in October. :) Ooh, and I did the Color Run a couple of weeks ago in Orange County -- super messy but super fun. FYI, it's not timed. :D

Petite Cabbage Press said...

Wooo! I was a getting a little nervous you weren't surviving the training and the run, you've been on here infrequently ;) Congratulations!

Mo said...

Thank you ladies!!!

@miss.t: thank goodness it's not timed! I'm excited by the color mayhem.

@Petite Cabbage Press: I know, it's sad I don't have more time here. :( I hope to have more time soon, post-graduation! Thank you for still being here and reading.

julia said...

Good for you! And pretty much right on your pace prediction - that's fantastic!

Katie said...

CONGRATULATIONS! I'm really just amazed you survived that hill--what hill? That's a great sign.

and that color run sounds awesome--and it's coming to my city in July! That might be all the motivation I need to start running again.

honey my heart said...

congratulations mo! half marathons are awesome, and what an awesome place to run through :)

Emily (The Culinary Couple) said...

Way to go!!! What a fun place to run your first race. Congratulations!

Alycia said...

Hi again! I will be officially running my first 1/2 in january! Any training tips you can give me would be great- I loved reading your training posts and of course this post on your run.

Hope you enjoy the color run!

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